Rumours and whispers of an Xbox handheld device have flown around since the days of the original Xbox, but it turns out there’s an actual reason that we never saw one materialise.
While Nintendo and Sony battled it out in handheld land, Microsoft never claimed a piece of that pie because the Xbox team was apparently solely focused on the Xbox 360.
This is according to former Chief Xbox Officer Robbie Bach, who explained in an interview with IGN that Microsoft absolutely had plans to create an ‘Xboy’, but in the end could never dedicate the time or resources needed to do so.
There were definitely drawings. But we just couldn’t focus – we just did not have the bandwidth. For us it was a focus issue and as it turned out strategically it was a smart decision, but that’s somewhat accidental.
To be fair, smartphones have pretty much waltzed in and dominated the handheld market now. The Nintendo 3DS seems to be just about hanging in there, while the PS Vita is a great console that never got the love (or games) it deserved.
Even the arrival of Nintendo sanctioned Pokemon GO on mobile seems to be a concession from one of the most traditional publishers around that these pesky smartphones seem to be doing the business.
While the mythical Xboy may never have made it to the prototype stage, it would’ve been interesting to see a dedicated gaming handheld from Microsoft – if only because a portable Fable would have been amazing.
Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn’t gotten out of his mid 00’s emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.